Friday, June 10, 2016

Helen Marker Jones's funeral book is full of surprises

Helen Wilma Marker Jones
11 Apr 1904-8 Apr 1949
I recently scanned the funeral book of Helen Wilma Marker Jones, the mother of my step-mother Phyllis Jones. Helen died in Great Bend, Barton, Kansas at age 44 of cancer. At the time of her mother's death, Phyllis was single at age 25, living at home, and employed in their family business, Jones Laundry. 

Phyllis Jones standing at the
front door of Jones Laundry
Phyllis Jones at left. Her mother
Helen Jones at right. Jones
Laundry was at 1501 E. 8th.
Phone number was 394. 
In April 1949 my dad was married to my mother, Ruby Flanders, and my twin brother Dennis and I were almost 1-1/2 years old, living at 2201 Jefferson in Great Bend. 
Ernest, Ruby, Dennis and Becky Margheim 1949
By late 1949 my parents were separated and then divorced early in 1950. Dad met Phyllis in the Fall of 1950 so I didn't ever have a chance to know Phyllis's mother. But Phyllis reminded us of how old Helen would be each year on the 11th of April. I knew she loved her mother very much and was very devoted to her. I've been happy for Phyllis that as she was adjusting to losing her mother, her future husband came into her life, with his little twins, and partially filled the void Helen's death had left.  

As we grew up in the household of Dad and "Mom", Dennis and I followed the court-ordered visitation with our mother, Ruby, and her husband Don Craine until we were 12 years old, when that was discontinued, also by court-order. We knew our mother's immediate family, that of Milo and Nannie (Becker) Flanders, but we weren't allowed to mention them or acknowledge their existence when we were residing in Great Bend with Dad and Phyllis. Phyllis just wouldn't allow it. Consequently, we developed a mental scenario of complete division between our two families. There was no mingling of the relatives, no mention of one side of our family when we were in the company of the other side. I thought of them as two different worlds, with nothing in common except me and Dennis. 

As I've done family history research my eyes have really been opened. My first "shock" was in looking at the 1930 Federal Census for Great Bend, KS as I saw that 5-year-old Ruby Flanders lived one block away from 6-year-old Phyllis Jones. And Phyllis's two cousins, Marj and Dot Jones lived one house away from Ruby Flanders and her family. I KNOW they all must have played together. It was 1930! Kids played outside as often as possible and played with all the kids in the neighborhood. 

As I've recently reviewed the Funeral Book of Helen Jones, I've deliberately studied the entries of the guests. Again, I've been shocked. Not just amazed or interested, but shocked. Many of the guests were neighbors, as I've determined by studying City Directories and City Censuses for Great Bend, KS. Since I've worked the past 17 years researching my family history, I now recognize more names than I would have in the past. I'm going to show some of the entries and explain how they're connected to Helen Jones or to me, because many new stories have emerged. 

The first name that called my attention was Mrs. and Mr. C. W. Hand. A few years ago I helped Karen (Hand) Jaynes do some research on her family. Karen also serves as a Consultant in our local Family History Center and is married to Terry Jaynes, the brother of my husband's ex-wife. I referred to my RootsMagic database and determined that Karen was indeed the Grand-Niece of C. W. Hand. Dad had told me at the time of my research that Karen's grandfather and granduncle had been employed at Great Bend Packing Co., where my dad also worked for 54 years. As I reviewed the census, it showed that C. W. Hand was indeed a butcher at the "Packing Plant". I'm still amazed that my husband's former sister-in-law's granduncle was in attendance at my step-grandmother's funeral in Great Bend, KS. Neither Larry's ex-wife nor her sister-in-law were from Barton County, KS. I met Karen in church here in Canon City, CO in 1996. 
The surprises just kept coming. Look at this entry for Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Flanders. FLANDERS! The name we were not allowed to utter in the household of Ernest and Phyllis (Jones) Margheim. And yet they provided flowers and attended the funeral of Phyllis's mother! This was Everett Albert "Johnny" and Irma (Cook) Flanders. I learned by looking at the census that Johnny and Irma Flanders lived at 1416 8th St in Great Bend, just 1/2 block from the home of Jim and Helen Jones, who lived at 1501 8th St. In fact, I drove past their house for several years as I worked at that laundry through high school and college and had no idea my cousins were living there. Johnny Flanders was the son of Merritt Flanders, brother of my grandfather Milo. I knew Uncle Merritt, but had never met his son. I do have a lot of photos from the high school years of my mother Ruby with Johnny's daughter Betty.
This entry shows Mr. and Mrs. Harley Price. I recognized them as the grandparents of a high school classmate, Steve Price. And my database shows that Harley and Helen Price's daughter Judith married John Franklin Smith, the son of Ray Ross and Edna (Becker) Smith. Again another surprise. Edna Becker was the sister of my maternal grandmother, Nannie Becker, the mother of my mother, Ruby Flanders! There's the Flanders connection again, at the funeral of Phyllis Jones's mother! 
I've highlighted from this page the name of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey McCarty. Harvey's wife Laida played the piano in a western swing band that Dad played guitar and sang in when he was married to Ruby Flanders. Also noted on this page are Mr. and Mrs. James Hoge. I learned that James Hoge's wife Viola is the daughter of L. A. Palmer, Sr, and sister of L. A. Palmer, Jr, whose names follows hers on the register. I've prepared a chart that you'll see later in this post that shows the connection of the Hoge family to my husband Larry Jamison!

This page brought another surprise. I was aware that Mrs. Alvina Buehler was a close friend of Helen Jones, as I've written about previously here. Alvina was a first cousin of Ernest Margheim! Her father George Koleber Jr and Ernie's mother Amalia (Koleber) Margheim were siblings. I was really surprised when I saw the entry for Mrs. Herman Margheim. Remember this was April 1949. Phyllis Jones had not even met Ernest Margheim, but there's a Margheim at her mom's funeral. And Herman Margheim is a 4th cousin, once removed of Ernest. I found that Mrs. Herman Margheim was Georgianna Noblitt and the Noblitts were neighbors of Jim and Helen Jones.  
It's indicated on this page that Mr. and Mrs. Charles Pizinger and their son Donald were in attendance and provided flowers at the funeral. Phyllis attended a dance in Great Bend in the summer of 1950 with Charlie, Rose, and Donald Pizinger. It was Ernest Margheim who noticed her as he played his guitar on stage as a member Earl Haines's band. He asked her to dance. They were married 18 March 1951. 
Ernest & Phyllis (Jones) Margheim
114 E. 6th St, Hoisington, KS
at the home of Ernest's parents,
John & Mollie Margheim
I've prepared quite an extensive chart that illustrates many of the connections that I've discussed here. I'm going to prepare a short video to narrate these connections tomorrow and will post it here. All the names in red were present at Helen Jones's funeral 
You might think it's not a big deal to find connections and relationships among visitors at a funeral in a town the size of Great Bend, KS in 1940. And I agree. But what still stuns me is the presence of family members from my mother's side of the family at a function of the Jones family, my step-mother's family, since I was raised keeping those two sides of my family VERY separated and distinct, with not even a mention of their names (allowed) in each of the others' households! Oh, the things we aren't privileged to know as we grow up. But so blessed to learn about as we study our family's rich history. 


Lisa Marker said...

I am so glad that you are williing and able to research this and keep track of it! Fascinating to follow the connections! Lisa

Russ Worthington said...


Wow, Just Wow.

The lesson for me, from all of this, is that it confirms why I keep ONE database for my research. I see a lot of questions or statements that they have their genealogy databases split between spouses, parents, grandparents.

I would not have known that my parents were cousins, or a name I knew growing up, but seeing the name of two people on my grandparents wedding photo, only to find that they were cousins. Of course they belonged that.

Also an example of the FAN club.

Thanks for sharing


Unknown said...

I really admire and appreciate your hard work and dedication to family history. Now that I'm retired, I'm hoping to become more active in researching and archiving my family.

Unknown said...

I really admire and appreciate your hard work and dedication to family history. Now that I'm retired, I'm hoping to become more active in researching and archiving my family.

Miss Merry said...

I recently discovered your blog and have found all your family stories and connections so interesting! I am new to family research and you are very inspiring.

Michelle Ganus Taggart said...

The connections are truly amazing and your dedication to sorting them all out is equally amazing.

I guess there is more to the story and don't you wish you knew all of the whys behind it all? Families and their relationships are so complicated.

Fascinating discoveries Becky!

Becky Jamison said...

Thank you for your kind words, Miss Merry! Keep up the never know what stories you'll come upon!